This essay is partially a response to Nina Power’s New Brutality and inspired by reading leftist discourses with friends Carleen Coulter, Ben Mauk, Mitch Speed, Sonja Hornung, and Richard Pfeifer in the last six months.
“Just as the sun is the one all-illuminating and warming sun, so reason is also the one reason” Descartes
“As we rush to explore the new vistas that cyberspace has made available for colonization, let us remember the fragility of a material world that cannot be replaced” Katherine Hayles
We live in the aftermath of the Age of Reason, inheritors of its brutalized logic. The alienation and the subjugation of the body is not some post-internet apocalypse state but actually a progressive activity of capitalism itself. “I am not this body” Decartes wrote in the 17th century. This statement was just a precursor for a thinking of a brain as a computer and the body as a prosthesis of the digital imagination. Yet when we encounter an exhibition that makes use of alienating aesthetics declaring the supremacy of digitalism, we are not thrown back to Cartesian ideology. In a sense, we are too far alienated from the history of capitalism to understand our own vile separation from ourselves. How did information lose its body, Katherine Hayles asks in her book How We Became Post Human? As communications began to be comprised of signals, the material existence of messaging or dialoguing dislodged the human itself.
Enter the Sun.
In the futurist play Victory over the Sun (1913), there is a distinct declaration to surpass the sun as the central paradigm of the path to the future:
‘The sun is nothing but a pretext for people to be slaves to the world-illusion. Its roots “have the rancid taste of arithmetic”, there is nothing but the darkness of reality outside”’.
Though the appearance of this phrase suggests something radical or even revolutionary, it reeks of technocratic hegemony. To exist outside of the realm of the sun and outside of the natural sphere has a very strong identity politics associated with it and yet, informatics has convinced us that going faster than light speed is the way of the future. Really it is the way of entrapment— Frederic Jameson warned, an informatics society is the purest state of capitalism.
Speaking from an entirely different context, lodged squarely within his own milieu, but also contemplating the question of a democracy that has never come, Jacques Derrida wrote almost as an afterthought when elaborating on sovereignty and infecting rationalism that breads racism:
(But can one really replace the sun? Can one think an original technical prosthesis of the sun? That is perhaps the question underlying everything I’m saying here)
He continues with a passage from Husserl: “Reason has demonstrated its force in relation to nature” from Crisis. Husserl’s Crisis, written on the brink of WWII, forecasted the acceleration of Nazism by linking it to the very movement and principle of modernity—the machine that is still to this day in a process of acceleration. In times where this word is on the lips edge of every seemingly politicized speech, perhaps a phenomenological blocking of power in relation to its main symbolic state can be fodder for meditation before turning to a more jarring beheading of capitalism.
Such thinking is not simply phenomenological abstract. During the vigorous and brutal colonization of Africa, slogans could be seen in Germany advertising for a place in the sun. These words also landing on imperial propaganda leaflets and sites were a predated foil to more pastiche advertisements for tourism and gated community homes. What does a place in the sun mean? A seat to power, a golden thrown, or the accumulation of world resources?
In 1897 a speech delivered by Bernhard von Bülow, the secretary of state for Prussian foreign affairs and later Chancellor, he demands before the Reichstag that the empire claim its seat in the sun—the sun standing in for an imperial urge to expand to Africa. Co-currently, there was also a type of sun cult set up by August Engelhardt and August Bethmann in German New Guinea. Their book Eine Sorgenfreie Zukunft (A Carefree Future) advocates for a colony in Africa set up around ecological living on Kabakon Island—a carefree future or a further implantation of the deleterious knowledge of imperialism?
On capitalism directly inspiring unnatural states, Silvia Frederici writes: “Capitalism also attempts to overcome our ‘natural state,’ by breaking the barriers of nature and by lengthening the working day beyond the limits set by the sun, the seasonal cycles, and the body itself, as constituted in pre-industrial society.” To lengthen the day past the sun was an initial marker of wills to reason, and to rethink the sun as the prosthesis of the body the logical course of it. In a way, it is both capitalism and sovereignty that cuts the body into a schizo form: capitalism fragments the body and also genders labor, thereby constructing the family while sovereignty partitions the body of the king himself.
In his book written in the 1950’s The King and his two bodies, Ernst Kantorowicz explains a perplexing phenomenon on the concept of the body of the dead king. In Roman times, the Emperor was divided into two bodies: his natural body and his sacred body. An effigy was built, standing in for his sacred form and burned in an official state ceremony. The creation of the double artificial prosthesis functioned as a purified form of absolute power.
To build a body to stand in for the shadow of the self can be a more prominent display of state hood—functioning in opposition to base matter. The mask always becomes truer than what was underneath in fascism, or maybe more apt, in a telematics society, a mask is contained in a string of codes, numbers, and informatics—which makes beheading or cutting decentralized twitter power quite futile. When we search for the King’s body in order to get rid of it, it is important to know that there is a second one lurking below it existing in opposition to matter. There is no possibility of transgressing the presidents mask, which is actually transgressing the artifice of nature itself for this very activity is already wound up inside the central motivation of the capitalist paradigm. How to fight power, the answer likely lies in the junk.
 A partial score was “shown” at Documeta 14 in Kassel at the listening stations. The curators are keen to ask us how we can get rid of the sun—subversive or fascistic?
 Derrida, Jacques. “The ‘World’ of the Enlightenment to Come”. Rogues: Two Essays on Reason. Stanford UP: 2005. 140
 Nina Power discusses beheading and decapitation as a metaphor to fight capitalism, though to talk about decapitation in this day and age juxtaposes a middle age practice with current activities of fascistic and terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State. It should be noted that Francis Bacon, English philosopher writing in the 16th and 17th century theorized that fighting opposition to capitalism was like fighting a many-headed hydra. After you cut and brutalize one opposition, another head grows. This begs the question, when we decapitate, whose head is actually being cut off—the King’s or the opposition?
 Frederici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation. Atonomedia: 2004. p.135